IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) conducted an on-site visit to Bolivia over the period March 27–31. The visit included talks and information gathering involving various State authorities, broad sectors within Bolivian society, and victims of human rights violations. At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations at a press conference on March 31.
The IACHR visited La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and Sucre, where it held more than 30 meetings with State authorities and provided 24 platforms to listen to civil society organizations, rights defenders, and journalists. The Commission also conducted observation visits to the women's penitentiary facilities in Obrajes and Miraflores and to the San Pedro de Chonchocoro maximum security prison.
Preliminary observations regarding this visit highlighted progress and challenges related to the 2009 constitution, as well as issues linked to social inclusion; economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights; historical structural discrimination; freedom of expression; lack of access to justice; judicial independence; and the situation of individuals who are deprived of liberty. The IACHR noted that Bolivia stands before a fantastic opportunity to overcome social polarization and to move closer to a new reconciliation stage. The Commission encouraged society as a whole to step up its efforts to create real consensus-building platforms, to enable the emergence of common goals that incorporate diversity and encourage mutual understanding.
The IACHR notes the openness of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to international scrutiny and appreciates the invitation to conduct this visit. The Commission also thanks Bolivian authorities for the support they provided in terms of logistics and other aspects and for respecting the delegation's freedom of movement and broad access to various stakeholders, to enable a successful visit. Finally, the IACHR is particularly grateful to civil society organizations, activists, human rights defenders, persons who are deprived of liberty, and all victims of rights violations who submitted their reports, accounts, and testimony.
The IACHR delegation for this on-site visit was led by Commission President Margarette May Macaulay and also included Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño (the IACHR's First Vice-President and Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples); Commissioner Joel Hernández (IACHR country rapporteur for Bolivia); Commissioner Julissa Mantilla Falcón (Rapporteur on the Rights of Women and on Memory, Truth, and Justice); Commissioner Stuardo Ralón Orellana (Rapporteur for Persons Deprived of Liberty); IACHR Executive Secretary Tania Reneaum; staff members at the IACHR Executive Secretariat; Pedro Vaca (IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression); and Soledad García Muñoz (Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights).
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.